Bill would put new restrictions on NC drunk drivers

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new bill may make it harder for convicted drunk drivers to get back behind the wheel in North Carolina.

“Gray’s law” would require anyone who has been convicted of drinking and driving to have an ignition interlock installed on their car. That’s a breathalyzer device that assures the driver isn’t drunk.

Advocates say the laws will make everyone safer when they’re out on the road.

The bill was unveiled during a press conference at the legislature Tuesday morning.

Members of Mothers against Drunk Driving are backing the bill, along with state Sen. Josh Stein.
Currently, ignition interlock devices are only requires in North Carolina for repeat offenders, first time offenders with a blood alcohol content of .15 or greater or drivers who refuse a chemical test for blood alcohol content.

“It’s time we take the interest out of groups and talk about the feelings, feelings of people impacted by this,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church of MADD. She said son was 18 when he was killed by a drunk driver in 2004.

There are 24 states with similar laws, advocates said. Stein said bill could mean a 45 percent reduction in drunk driver deaths, based on statistics from other states.

Plus, he said, “It will allow convicted drunk drivers to stay working. I don’t know why anyone would be opposed to this.”

The bill will have to be voted on by the legislature before it becomes law.

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